I don’t mean the weekly groceries, although that can be tiresome in the extreme, especially if the place is full of children and their harrassed parents, or women standing gossiping right in the middle of the aisle, or teenagers choosing their alcopops, or just, you know .. people.
No, top of the list of things I hate shopping for would be mobile phones, and close behind comes white goods. I mean, come on – who wants to spend more than a nano-second looking at rows and rows of washing machines trying to decide which of the nasty, boring cost-an-arm-and-a-leg things is the least nasty? Good grief, the tedium!! And just don’t get me started on furniture. It took six months recently for Other Half to get me into a furniture warehouse for long enough to choose a sofa!
Part of it is the salesmen, of course. Now, the perfect salesman is one who watches from a distance (preferably about a quarter of a mile) and just exactly at the moment you want to ask him a question, materialises at your side, knows his stuff and talks to you without rubbing his hands together. If he has a sense of humour, that’s a definite plus, and I might actually buy something from him. But he is a Rare Thing.
Right now, we’re in the market for a treadmill, on account of Other Half has cancelled my gym membership**. I figure with the iGallop, a treadmill, and a few weights, I can manage to keep myself reasonably fit – but only if the treadmill is the right treadmill. I want a treadmill which folds out of the way. I want a treadmill which isn’t flimsy. I want a treadmill with the deck and the hand grips in the right place and I want one without unnecessary frills.
We looked at one yesterday. For me to be able to hold the hand grips on this not-particularly-cheap item, I was treading on the plastic shield which covers up the front end of the moving belt thingy. I need to be able to hold the handles because I have seriously weak ankles, and I need to have those handles available. They’re no use six inches in front of me, on account of if I do fall, I’m going to be shooting backwards at several miles an hour.
Shame about that, because the salesman was one of the good guys who actually knew what he was talking about and had the intelligence and wit to be able to crack jokes and laugh about his equipment. I like that in a man. Sadly, the one he had which was good for both of us had a huge fancy chunk of metal and plastic on top, designed to hold two water bottles and an iPod and featuring a large pair of speakers. Yes, we’re still talking about the treadmill, folks. Do try to keep up.
So why would anyone need speakers? There is only one reason I can think of – with speakers you can have the volume up nice and loud and hopefully no-one will be able to hear you sing along. However, I don’t know about you, but when I’m on the treadmill, I don’t have enough breath to sing much above a hoarse croak anyway.
This afternoon will see us in yet another sports equipment shop looking for that elusive simple, well-made, folding treadmill that has a belt that goes round and a button to make an incline with. Oh, and a simple read-out which tells you how fast you’re going and how long you’ve been at it. And nothing much else. Except, hopefully, a guarantee. Oh yeah, and a salesman who doesn’t make me want to use one of my knives on him in a completely inappropriate way.
Wish us luck. All of us. Salesman included.
* Except knives
** I was finding it harder and harder to get myself down there three times a week.